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Indian Navy commissions sixth Landing Ship Tank

Large Landing Ship Tank Airavat. A file photo

Visakhapatnam (PTI): Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta Tuesday commissioned the Indian Navy's sixth Landing Ship Tank (Large), Airavat, into the naval fleet at the Eastern Naval Commands, IN Jetty here.

"The Indian Navy would build 32 warships and six submarines using indigenous technology by the year 2012," Mehta told reporters on the occasion.

Previously named as Yard 3016 in March 06, the LST was re-christened INS Airavat Tuesday. It was formally handed over to the Indian Navy on March 30 this year at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited, Kolkata.

As a platform designed for amphibious operations against the enemy, Airavat is a further upgrade on the Magar Class (the First LST (L)) in her suite of weapons, sensors and indigenous content, the Indian Navy said in a release.

With a significantly enhanced weapon package, latest control systems and better habitability conditions, Airavat delivers considerable punch and amphibious capabilities to the fighting prowess of the Indian Navy, it said.

The ship can carry 10 Main Battle Tanks, 11 Combat Trucks and 500 Troops and has a considerable range and endurance at sea. Besides undertaking amphibious operations, the ship is a potent assault platform capable of operating both Seaking 42C and the indigenous Dhruv helicopters.

Airavat is fitted with two indigenous WM 18A rocket launchers to support successful amphibious operations. The threat from air is dealt with through two indigenous CRN 91 Anti-Aircraft Guns auto-controlled by Optronic Sights and shoulder-launched IGLA Surface-to-Air Missiles. It also has soft-kill ability through Chaff Rockets, which can be used to clutter the sensory inputs of an incoming energy aircraft or missile, the Navy said.

The ship is also fitted with Remote Propulsion Control, Battle Damage Control System and Automated Power Management System.

These are fully integrated, microprocessor based, digital control systems for providing control and for monitoring ships machinery and systems, it said.

Airavat also has a microprocessor based anti-roll Flume Stabilisation System and smoke curtains to impede spreading of smoke and toxic gases in case of fire on board. In addition, the ship can act as a fleet tanker through stern refuelling of other naval vessels and as a hospital ship.

According to the Navy, the ship can be effectively tasked for HADR(Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) missions during natural calamities like tsunami, cyclone and earthquake and can operate independently at high seas for as long as 45 days.

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